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How to Gain More Time Like Making Money

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How to Gain More Time Like Making Money

Time is finite. Each of us on this planet are here only temporarily. It’s important to use time wisely, yet it is easy to get caught up spending your time doing things that don’t really matter.  Most people act in ways that are only sustainable if we had an infinite amount of time.  But we don’t.

Imagine you were able to save $10 per day, and let it build. After a year you will have accumulated $3,650. Equally, if you were able to save 10 minutes of a day to be reused later, by the end of the year, you would have saved 60 hours.

What would you choose?

Most would go with the money. It’s understandable. Humans like tangible rewards.

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However, money by its nature is salvageable. If you lose money, you may have the opportunity to make it back again. But time is different. Once an hour passes, you lose that hour forever. What many people often forget is that those accumulated 60 hours can become something far more valuable than $3,650.  To truly value our time, we must convert it into something tangible in our minds.

Money Is Tangible but Time Is Not?

Our lives are a series of experiences.  Everything we pursue is, at the end of the day, aimed at creating positive meaning out of these experiences.  Everyone wants to have more enjoyable experiences than unenjoyable ones, and want the same for those they care about.

But what is the currency that you must trade to have these experiences?

That currency is time.  Everything is just a means to this end.  Without time to spend, everything else is meaningless. You can be a billionaire, but if you had only 1 hour to experience its value, those billions are suddenly not worth so much.

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We are generally much more conscious of how we gain and lose money.  For example, if you dropped $100 on the floor, I’m pretty sure you would immediately turn around and pick it up.  On the other hand, if you wasted 100 minutes doing nothing, it might barely register.

Although we know that time is limited, we often think and act as if it is not. It’s obvious that treating your finances in this way, like having a $100 budget but spending as if it was $10,000, would soon get you bankrupt.  Treating time like this is far more damaging.

“Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans”

– John Lennon

The reason that money seems so tangible is because dollar figures are attached to everything around us.  It helps us to assign relative value between things.  But it can be the same for time.

The Only Way to Measure the Value of Time

A day will always be 24 hours. There will always be 60 minutes in an hour, and there will always be 60 seconds to a minute. Some lives are longer, some are shorter, but let’s assume you’re lucky and get around 70-80 years.   How many of these years are the prime of your youth, or in good health?  How many of these years are just short windows in time that you have with your loved ones?  Instead of just considering time as a quantity spent in minutes or hours, how we spend it is more important.  Your quality of life is basically defined by the quality of your time.  And you should also look at it from more than one dimension. For example, ask yourself these questions.

  • How many hours in a day do you spend being angry, anxious, dissatisfied, or unhappy?
  • How much time do you spend actually connecting with a loved one as opposed to just being in the same room as them?
  • How much time do you plan for improving yourself each day, or each week?
  • How many hours of your life do you spend doing things you don’t enjoy for reasons that you don’t really understand?
  • We sleep on average 6-8 hours a night, but how many hours are quality rest?  How many, then.. are just wasted lying in bed?

If these are typical questions that you regularly take actions to address, then you’re well on your way to being in charge of the quality of your life.  If you don’t, then it’s a great time to get started.

I’m not suggesting to quit your job, and spend everyday however you like. That is unreasonable and unrealistic. However, there are countless choices that you make everyday about how you think about things and what you decide to focus on.  You’re constantly making these choices whether you’re aware of them or not.  If you take charge by being consciously aware of these choices, you can gain countless  hours, days, and even years of meaningful time spent.  Everyone has the same 24 hours a day, but you can take control over more of this time than you think.

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The first step is to make quality time a true value in your life, and not just a cliche.

Your quality of life is basically defined by the quality of your time.

What if you could take small actions during the day that vastly improved the quality of your sleep?  Or boost your productivity and energy through the day by investing in a 20 minute nap.  How about spending time connecting more deeply with friends and loved ones in the short time you have with them?  These are only the tip of the iceberg in an encyclopaedia of ways to increase the quality of your time, which is one of our core values at Lifehack.  You can find out more about how to make the most of your time here: Time Merchant.

Some of the greatest regrets we have in life are those valuable moments lost because of how we chose to spend our time.  Imagine the millions we would pay to be able to go back in time to respend those moments, or to make different choices. So make the choice to truly value your time.  While you’re still alive and breathing, it’s never too late!

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Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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